Is Indian Poultry Industry ready to face the competition?

Vijay Sardana
Vijay Sardana

According to FAO, in the last few years, agricultural production has experienced significant development due to an increasing demand for food by the world's population. This demand results particularly from the increase in the global population, as well as in average income and urbanization. The United Nations (UN) estimates that there will be eight billion people on the planet by 2030, whose income will be, on average, 32 percent higher than in 2006. In addition, meat consumption per person per year will increase by 26 percent in the same period, and this increase in consumption will be chicken meat.

In a country like India, milk, poultry, fish, and the egg will remain the main source of animal protein due to various economic and sentimental reasons. Incidentally, there are also recommended by nutritionists and health professionals as well. However, these are not the only factors that will influence the evolution of the poultry industry in this coming years.

Globally, it is well known India is a lucrative market and all want to jump into this market for their commercial benefits.

Indian poultry industry is at a turning point. Major changes are expected in coming months. The increasing demand for animal products resulting from demographic factors, income growth, changing consumer behavior, technical and scientific developments, diminishing resources, and increasing consumer demands for more food safety, demand for lower environmental impact, and better animal welfare conditions will determine the development of the poultry industry during the next few years.

Laws will demand quality assurance and enforcement agencies will demand more evidence-based decision-making system. In this scenario, the traceability of poultry products will be essential. This requires the careful selection of supply chain partners like input suppliers including chicks, feed, and other inputs, with the focus on product quality rather than on price.

Biosecurity and monitoring flock health status will also be the key to the safe and profitable expansion of the poultry industry.

Animal welfare clubbed with environment controlled housing system will be new demand in coming years.

The price of raw materials for feed production will also influence poultry production in the next few years. The ways of managing input costs are a matter of intense research. In the field of nutrition and feed technology, the most significant aspects will be the use of nanotechnology and enzymes, the evaluation of non-nutritional factors, which may maximise ingredient utilization by the bird. Feed processing and particle size of the feed will decide the feed efficiency.

In scientific innovation, a new field of knowledge nutrigenomics must be considered. Nutrigenomics studies the molecular relationships between nutrition and gene response and aims at understanding how gene expression is induced by nutrients or feeding regimes, with consequent influence on performance parameters.

In coming days, the utilisation of new synthetic amino acids on an industrial scale, the application of new feed formulation concepts to improve dietary energy utilisation, the use of nutraceuticals to modulate intestinal microflora and the immune system as an alternative to therapeutics, and the use of special pre-starter diets will become norms in coming years. The lack of in-house research by Indian companies will put them in a disadvantaged situation in the global market when poultry imports will start coming in.

Feed always play a key role in the cost of production and competitiveness, feedstuffs should no longer be considered as commodities. Qualitative and nutritional criteria should be used by poultry farmers for their purchase and segregation of feeds from the feed mills.

Real-time technologies allowing the immediate analysis of feedstuffs, such as NIR, etc, will be required for quality based decision making.

Genetic engineering will become a crucial tool to improve feedstuff nutritional quality and, perhaps, bird performance. The role of nanotechnology and biotechnology will increase whether we like it or not.

The technical factors and the evolution of science and technology, the availability of natural resources and water, which are becoming increasingly limited, and the maintenance of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers must also be considered while developing poultry sector policies.

In today’s technology driver sophisticated context, growth modeling and data-analysis using computer systems will allow more robust decision-making, which will be the key to the sustainability and success of the poultry industry.

Finally, consumer demands will have a strong influence as these demands are becoming increasingly concerned with animal welfare issues, food safety, and environmental impact relative to poultry production. New methods to assess the economic and environmental impact of poultry production have been developed. An example is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a globally recognized ISO-standardised procedure that proposes to evaluate the impact of poultry production during the entire flock life cycle, from raw material purchase, waste production, and treatment, to production surplus recycling and disposal on the environment.

It is high time, that large poultry players in India explore all technological options to modernize their production system, to develop quality assurance system and address concerns of consumers and civil society on food hygiene and environment.

This will help Indian poultry industry to face the competition better and Indian industry will be able to retain the consumer confidence in the home-grown products when competition will heat up in coming years.

The biggest issue is who will take the lead and how long Indian poultry industry will take to gear-up to face the competition from international players in the domestic market.

It takes time and resources to adapt to the new reality. Quality of execution will decide the winners and losers. It is also important that policymakers should also look at existing policies so that transition is also smooth and less painful.

Hope to see vibrant profitable Indian poultry industry in coming months. 

Consumers will be the final judge.

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